Monday, June 24, 2013

Mastoiditis & Ear infections = Bells Palsy

Hubby's cousin (also married to hubby's BFF) was admitted to the hospital yesterday. At first I was told that she had had a stroke so I was rather shitting my pants. A 30 yr old having a stroke is NOT EVER a good thing! Then when we got to the hospital I found out that that's NOT what she had...

So here's the events leading to admission...

The family took a trip into the US to visit family they had there. They went swimming and had LOTS of fun. Unfortunately, several in the family developed colds and made the trip a little crappy. When they came back they were all still on the mend. Mama of the family developed an ear infection and a sore throat and saw the family GP when they got back on the Canadian side of the border. Doc prescribed an antibiotic and Mama took the entire week of med. Unfortunately for her, a couple of days ago the ear pain ramped up and all of a sudden one side of her face started to droop (bells palsy symptom) which her hubby thought was just her "faking" it - go figure a man would think this way!!! But she insisted they see a Doc and when they went to a walk-in clinic, the Doc immediately sent them to the hospital.

Turns out that her ear infection was resistant to the antibiotics and had perforated her ear drum and then infiltrated her mastoid antrum and mastoid air system. This is the spot right behind the ear, where the jaw bone ends. Because the infection settled into this area, if the infection gets bad enough it can cause nerve palsy - hence her symptoms!! This is also one of the riskiest spots to get an infection. Turns out that if you get an infection in this spot there is a high incidence of meningitis or worse! The EENT doc who assessed hubby's cuz several weeks previously had had someone who had this EXACT same infection and treated them conservatively. Well NOT a good idea and that person ended up in ICU for several weeks because of the Dr's choice. Guess he learned his lesson cuz when we went and visited cuz in the hospital, they had her on Vanco, ceftriaxone and one other IV med. They weren't taking ANY chances this time around!

She was in the hospital for a couple of days and then on home IV antibiotics for a couple more. Thankfully her symptoms have improved and she's starting to get movement in her face again.


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